Paul Walker, the blue-eyed hunk best known for his recurring role in the “The Fast and the Furious” auto-racing movies, perished in a fiery sports car crash north of Los Angeles on Saturday. Walker died “joy-riding,” a pal told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal.
His final ride was in the passenger seat of a cherry-red Porsche Carrera. The out-of-control car struck a light pole and a tree in a business park in Valencia at around 3 p.m., bursting into flames.
The actor and the friend who was driving the Porsche, who was not identified by authorities, were pronounced dead at the scene.
The star’s death at age 40, also confirmed Saturday night on his Twitter and Facebook pages, is as ironic as it is tragic.
Walker, a resident of Santa Barbara, Calif., and the father of a 15-year-old girl, rose to fame as Brian O’Conner in the popular movie franchise about illegal street racing and daring heists. “Fast & Furious 6” was a huge hit, grossing more than $788 million worldwide.
“Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless,” “Fast” co-star Vin Diesel wrote on Instagram. “Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.”
Diesel also tweeted: “My brother and I…..we aimed for the stars together….and achieved more than we ever hoped we could with f&f.”
Walker had been working on the seventh installment when he died. He also stars in the suspense drama, “Hours,” which is set for release this month.
“Your humble spirit was felt from the start, wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark,” rapper and “Fast” co-star Ludacris wrote on Instagram on Saturday night.
“We were like brothers & our birthdays are only 1 day apart, now You will forever hold a place in all of our hearts . . . @paulwalker legacy will live on forever. R.I.P.”
On Saturday, the charred, crumpled remains of the Porsche were a chilling indicator of the human wreckage within.
“Him and his buddy, his brother in arms at heart, just decided to joyride, take a spin,” the Santa Clarita Valley Signal’s Web site quoted Walker’s pal, Antonio Holmes, as saying shortly after the crash.
“It was engulfed in flames,” said Holmes, who described how he and other pals of Walker had also been out driving, and rushed to the scene with fire extinguishers.
“They were trapped . . . We tried, we tried,” the anguished friend said of their vain efforts to put out the deadly flames.
A poster on Walker’s Facebook page wrote Saturday night that Walker had been attending a charity event for his organization, Reach Out Worldwide, before the accident.
“We too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news,” read the post, which was signed #TeamPW.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman said the office was investigating the accident.
Walker is the son of a fashion model and a sewer contractor, and grew up in a working class, Mormon Los Angeles household.
He is the oldest of five siblings, and started acting as a toddler, in diaper commercials.